This building at Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack could be the location for a winter housing project for women. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress file)

Plans afoot for winter housing for women in Chilliwack

The next step is getting a temporary use permit to allow the facility to operate in DT Chilliwack

Ann Davis Transition Society has been working for weeks to get a “winter housing project” established in downtown Chilliwack.

“We have been trying to get this project going to get women off the streets,” said Patti MacAhonic, executive director of ADTS. “This is a crisis situation.”

BC Housing confirmed with ADTS reps about three weeks ago that funding was approved for a 20-bed winter housing project, she said.

The situation is dire, so in a sense it’s emergency shelter.

“So it’s not just homeless women we would serve, but women at risk of homelessness. It’s those who are couch-surfing, and not safe. Some were beaten by their partners, but went back to them since there was nowhere else for them to go,” said MacAhonic.

A public hearing at city hall for a temporary use permit is Dec. 5.

The last homeless count showed 67 women identified as homeless, and the percentage of homeless women in Chilliwack at 37.2 per cent, which is higher than most other Fraser Valley communities. But that doesn’t include women who are among the invisible homeless.

“We just couldn’t turn people away from the transition house anymore,” MacAhonic said about the desperate need to get women off the streets, even on a temporary basis.

“People don’t realize we have an anomaly with a higher than average number of homeless women here. So we are doing this because we care about the women of this community.”

The new facility for women will be low- to no-barrier housing with wrap-around supports, located at Yale and Young. The low-barrier model is how it will be different from the ADTS transition house.

“So it’s not just homeless women we would serve, but women at risk of homelessness. It’s those who are couch-surfing, and not safe. Some were beaten by their partners, but went back to them since there was nowhere else for them to go,” said MacAhonic.

The temporary facility will employ 12 full-time ADTS staff, and six on call for six months.

ADTS already provides counselling, programs, legal advocacy, as well as operating a thrift store, so it has the ability to provide support services, she said. Ruth and Naomi’s Mission will provide an evening meal.

One of the challenges in Chilliwack is that emergency shelter housing is not the best for women, especially already traumatized women.

There are in fact very few shelter options for women, confirmed Tim Bohr, Community Ministries Director for Salvation Army.

They have a women’s room in the main shelter building, with five beds, two bunks and a women’s only bathroom downstairs.

In the 30-bed temporary shelter in the soup kitchen, there is a room divider between men and women.

“There is no real privacy for women in the temporary shelter,” he noted.

“I can add my voice of support to this project. It’s definitely needed and will serve an immediate need.”

READ MORE: Several efforts underway

Once the temporary modular shelter is in place by early 2018, there will be a separate section with a women’s only hallway and a number of rooms for females only, but for now there is very little available.

Partnerships and support from the community are growing.

Next step is the application for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) from City of Chilliwack for the project, but the facility could be opened within weeks of that approval, she said.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This building at Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack could be the location for a winter housing project for women. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress file)

Just Posted

PJHL delays start of season as teams struggle to secure facilities

The junior B hockey league was hoping to start Sept. 29 but is now targeting mid-October

Missing Chilliwack woman last seen on Wednesday

Friends and family concerned for Joy-Lynn Leon, 42, who was last seen Sept. 23 on Mary Street

VIDEO: Mounties looking to catch Chilliwack bike-riding teen groper

Man caught on video slapping the backside of girl near CSS riding a bicycle

Abbotsford has a COVID-19 rate 10 times higher than Chilliwack

Abbotsford has been much harder hit by COVID-19 than its neighbour to the east

Chilliwack illusionist Chris Funk brings live magic, music to Cultural Centre

‘You’ll see some creations that have made appearances on some of the largest television shows in the world’

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read